Ryan Giggs has told Manchester United’s youngsters they might never get a better chance to make the grade at Old Trafford than under Louis van Gaal.
The signs are already there that they will get opportunities as the Dutchman took seven youth team players to the United States – Ben Amos, Sam Johnstone, Reece James, Tyler Blackett, Jesse Lingard, Michael Keane and Will Keane.
So far, Van Gaal has been reluctant to talk about which academy graduates are in line to play a part in the first-team squad next season as he wants time to assess his players but Giggs has told the youngsters that Van Gaal’s appointment has given them a golden opportunity to make the the breakthrough, pointing to Van Gaal’s track record at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich as the reason why.
“It’s Louis’s philosophy to play young players,” Giggs said.
“To give Xavi, Iniesta, Muller, Kluivert, Seedorf a chance. It’s his track record – he develops young players and gives them a chance.
“I think he has been impressed by the quality of the young players as well. It’s a chance for them. I always say if you’ve got a chance to play for Manchester United you’ve got to take it.
“That’s what I did. That’s what a lot of others have done.”
Giggs also believes it’s not just a chance for players to break into the first-team squad. Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Luke Shaw, Wilfried Zaha, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Rafael, all 24 or under, are also in the travelling party for this summer’s tour and United’s new assistant says they also have the chance to make a step up.
“It’s a chance for them for go onto the next level. We all know they are quality players and they need to show it on a consistent basis, with the help of experienced players and coaching staff.
“I and the lads who came through with me had a lot of help.”
Players like Lingard, 21, have been encouraged by Van Gaal’s history of promoting players like Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Thomas Muller, Clarence Seedorf, David Alaba and Carles Puyol.
Lingard impressed on last summer’s pre-season tour of Asia and Australia but spent most of last season on loan at Birmingham and Brighton but now he is back with the first team, he’s hoping to follow Giggs’ advice.
“We knew about the manager’s track record before he came to the club and how he promotes youth,” Lingard said.
“You’ve got to wait for your chance but make sure you take it when you get it. All the youngsters have been doing well and most have had a run-out so we’re all looking to progress from there.
“Training has been hard work but everyone has enjoyed it.
“We’ve been working on some new things which is good for us. We’re still adapting to how the manager wants to us to play and his structure but that’s something we’re enjoying.”
Van Gaal has also brought in Albert Stuivenberg, the former coach of the Netherlands Under-21 team who led the Dutch Under-17 team to their triumphs in the UEFA European Championships in 2011 and 2012.
He’s been part of the backroom staff that has drawn up United’s pre-season plans with the onus placed on improving the players’ technical ability rather than just getting fit and even if the youngsters in the group are made to wait for their chance in the first-team, Giggs believes they will get it.
He continued: “Everything he does is clear. Clear. And everyone gets it straight away.
“He has got a unique way of putting it over but it’s brilliant to see. To see it first hand is great for my experience and the players. It’s just clear.
“It’s quite simple but if you make a mistake he will tell you and if you do something good he will tell you. You know what you are doing wrong and you know what you are doing right.
“He makes no bones about who you are. If you do something wrong he will tell you but also he will praise you as well.”